The Voigtlander Nokton 35 1.4 MC Lens Review


Voigtlander 35 1.4 Nokton MC classic Lens review: Another day, another lens review! This week it is the very classical Voigtlander 35 Nokton 1.4 MC lens for Leica M mount, but do not worry! This is a lens almost any M shooter can afford! Yes, it is true! For about $500 you can buy yourself a FAST 1.4 aperture 35mm for Leica M mount. Meaning, a 35mm lens that you can slap on your M8 or M9 (or M7, M6, MP..any M!) and have yourself a little low light lens that performs pretty damn good for the money. But how good? That IS the question!

I have been shooting this lens for the past week, thanks to They rent Leica camera AND lenses (as well as Nikon, Canon. Olympus and others) and I think this is so cool! Not sure about spending $4000 on that leica Summilux? Rent it first! This way you can make sure you like the lens. You can see their full Leica inventory HERE.

As many of you know, I have owned my share of 35mm lenses for the M8 and M9, including the “holy grail”, the Leica 35 Summilux ASPH. I declared it my favorite Leica lens ever but when I sold my M8 and bought the M9 my focus issues worsened with that lens (that lens exhibits focus shift from F2-F4). To avoid all of the hassle with focus shift I decided to sell it and be done with the headaches. As much as I loved the lens, I let it go and bought a Leica 35 Summicron. The Summicron is pretty much perfection in a 35mm lens. It is so perfect, many say it is “clinical” but I just see it as a no-fault, perfect 35mm F2 lens. It has no distortion, no color shifts, no focus shift and it is as sharp as a lens can be. Even at F2! If you want PERFECT for your Leica M, the 35 Summicron ASPH is the lens for you. (you can see my review for the 35 Summicron HERE)

I admit, I have gotten used to that perfection, and it has spoiled me a little. When the little Voigtlander 35 1.4 Nokton MC classic arrived I prepared my mind for the worst. I could not see how a $500 lens could even come close to my old $4195.00 35 Summilux ASPH or even the $2795.00 Leica 35 Summicron! I mean, NO WAY right? If this were possible, no one would be buying the Leica! Well, I will let you in on a spoiler right now…this lens does not beat the Leica equivalents but for the money it delivers IQ in its own unique way. Read on my friend, read on!

Before I get to the pics and my thoughts on the lens, here is a youtube video I made so you can see how small the lens is with and without its hood.


The lens is pretty small and sitting next to the small Leica 35 Summicron ASPH, the Nokton is even smaller! It is pretty amazing how they managed to make a 35Mm 1.4 in this compact of a size. The old Leica 35 Summilux PRE-ASPH was also small like this and I am guessing it has to do with there being no Aspherical glass in them. So, score one point for the Voigtlander! It’s size is perfect!


The Voigtlander 35 1.4 Nokton classic is a well made lens. Its heavy, solid, and its focus ring is pretty smooth. It is not as silky as my Leica 35 Summicron, but it is still very smooth. It has a black finish and is a little bit shinier than the Leica. Its aperture ring is smooth but solid. Basically it is a well made, solid little lens. It’s not super light but its also not heavy. In the video above you can see it comes in at about 7 oz. For $549, it is a VERY well made lens. But all of this does not mean SQUAT if the lens can not help you create  your vision. The good news is that it most certainly can, but there is an “IF”. It can, IF you like your images to have a classic “character”.


What I mean by that is the Voigtlander 35 Nokton 1.4 is not a perfect lens like a Leica summicron, and it is not quite as magical with its Bokeh as the Leica 35 Summilux ASPH. BUT this lens has GOBS of character! When shot at 1.4 it is sharp but with a “glow”. It is not as sharp as the Leica Summicron but for an M mount lens at this price, I was impressed with its wide open performance. Even on the full frame M9.

“Christmas Angel” – Nokton 35 1.4 at 1.4 – ISO 500 – 1/90s


But the lens does have some minor issues, at least on the M9. For example, most of the time I found the lens caused the camera to underexpose by one stop. I had  to fix this in the RAW conversions or by shooting with some exposure compensation. I also found it vignettes wide open on the M9 but if you set the camera lens setting to a 35 Summilux PRE-ASPH it gets MUCH better, so that was really a non issue once I set the camera to the correct lens setting. The day I got the lens I was so excited to try it my wife and I went out to lunch and I brought along the M9 and 35 Nokton 1.4 MC.

This is the first picture I snapped with the combo:


I was immediately “wowed” by the way the lens captured the color and out of focus highlights at 1.4. I have heard by many that this lens has a “harsh” bokeh, but honestly, I have seen harsher bokeh in one or two Leica lenses! The above image is a straight from camera JPEG. After my first few shots I was excited! I told my wife I was buying one due to the great price (and the fact that I had to sell my 35 cron to fund the Noctilux and no longer had a 35). Also, in some of the images I was noticing something very unique. Sometimes the lens was rendering like a Noctilux! Sort of.

Imagine, a 35mm with a hint of the Noctilux magic. Could it be? Here is a nonsense image I shot just for fun in a mall. My (EX) wife may kill me for posting this but it is one of the images that has that unique rendering.

Notice the subject separation and unique bokeh:


Again, just a shot I wanted to post that sort of shows the unique look of this lens wide open. It is not as perfect and smooth as a Leica 35 Summilux ASPH and it is indeed a more “classical” look, as advertised. It’s funny because this classic look really means “imperfect”! Yep, many shooters are really fond of this classic look as it adds something different to your image. Most lenses today go for intense sharpness, perfect color, and ZERO distortion. This lens goes for softer colors, semi sharp/bordering on slight softness, wide open “glow, and it even has some barrel distortion and vignetting thrown in for fun! Just like the Noctilux that I love so much.

But man, can those “classical” ingredients really do the trick sometimes.

“Window St. Nick” – ISO 500 – 1.4


The image you see above was taken at NIGHT of a window display in a VERY small town called “Lebanon”, somewhere in the twilight zone..umm, I mean Illinois. My wife and I passed through on our way home from visiting friends in St. Louis and we took a stroll in the 40 degree weather admiring all of the beautiful window displays. The little Nokton worked out beautifully and in many of the images I can feel that classic vibe, which makes me really enjoy shooting this lens. THIS IS WHAT THE LENS IS ALL ABOUT!



Both of the samples above were shot wide open at 1.4 using only the light from the window display itself. The full frame Leica M9 does expose the soft corners of the lens, but in real world shooting, does it really matter? True, this would not be a great lens to shoot landscapes with as its classical nature is really geared towards portraits and low light shooting. BUT sometimes those “perfect” lenses are not the best for portraits or low light. It all depends on what your needs are.

So far I have shown that at 1.4 the Nokton 35 1.4 renders in a dreamy classical way. What about at F2 or F4? Many have told me that this lens exhibits focus shift from F2-F4 but I can honestly say that this copy did not exhibit this on my M9. It was absent. ZERO shift! It was so good I asked if I could buy their copy of the lens! I did not get to purchase the lens but I do hope that if I do end up buying one I will get one just like this.

Here is a sample that was shot at f4 on a grey dreary day in a very old cemetery. I found it while out and about driving and looking for new things to shoot:


You can download the full size version HERE. I can see a SLIGHT amount of softness in the bottom corners but otherwise, this looks really good to me. I would rather shoot real world images like this rather than test charts, even though I do from time to time shoot my wall clock to test for sharpness. For this review, I did do those wall clock tests but they showed that the lens is sharp at F1.4 and improved all the way up to F8. Again, I saw no shift with this copy of the lens. The image above was at F4 and its sharp as I could hope for. The more I shot with this lens, the more impressed I was with its performance. It is a perfect for everyday shooting if you can live with its shortcomings. It will definitely save you some money.

This got me to thinking. How would it compare side by side with the king of perfection, the $2800 Leica Summicron? Is this even fair? Well, yes and no. Yes because they are both 35mm M mount lenses. No because the Leica summicron is perfection and it is not a 1.4 lens. It is also $2300 more expensive than the Nokton.

What would have been fair is a comparison with the old Leica 35 Summilux pre-asph as this is what the Voigtlander lens is aiming for. Still, I had the lens here (35 Summicron) so I snapped a shot from a tripod of my fireplace mantle with both lenses just because.



What I see right away is that the Voigtlander has some barrel distortion. Look at the way the fireplace mantle curves in the Nokton shot. Straight lines are not straight, and this is one of the “features” you get with this lens. 🙂 If this is not your thing, then it is probably best to stay away from this lens as you will get it even when shooting at F4. I noticed it only in situations where there were straight lines. I also see a color difference with the Leica being more neutral.

Here is another where you see the barrel distortion:


Here is one more side by side:



AND SOME CROPS with ZERO sharpening:



So what do I see here? Well, what do you see? I see the barrel distortion in the Nokton shot, but in the crops I can not even tell the difference between the two! If I look hard enough I can see a teeny tiny bit more sharpness in the Summicron shot. Remember though, the Nokton vignettes and has barrel distortion, so anything you shoot with straight lines at the edges will appear curved slightly. I had no issues with the sharpness of the lens but at F4-F5.6 the Summicron is sharper and has a more brilliant look.

One thing I also spotted with this lens is some CA/Purple Fringing. It popped up once and to be fair, this has popped up in Leica lenses as well, even the 28 Summicron and my previous 35 Summilux. Here is an EXTREME case of CA and this is followed by a 100% crop. Again, I have seen this just as bad with Leica lenses on certain occasions (though not on the 35 Summicron). It is rare, but does happen and seems to be more of a digital sensor issue rather than a particular lens problem. Some say this is actually sensor bloom.

Example of CA/PF in the windows


100% crop


The Nokton does have the one thing that he Summicron doesn’t though, and that is a 1.4 aperture that will let you shoot in low light with some very creative results. I really enjoyed the lens and feel it is very much worth the asking price. There are actually two version of this lens. The MC and SC. The MC is the one I tested here and is multi coated. The Single Coated is said to have softer color and contrast and may have an even more classic draw.

Voigtlander 35 1.4 Nokton MC at 1.4 on the Leica M9


I am someone who is actually going to be looking to buy a more affordable 35 for my M9 soon and this lens is at the top of my list. I adore it for its flaws and its imperfections but I admit it will not be usable for landscape or my rural buildings. It just doesn’t have that “bite” of the Leica. What it does have is that classic character and I know many of you love this look and I also know many hate it. For the money, its a great lens and one worthy of daily shooter or to add to your M collection. Is it comparable to the legend, the king, the magical Leica 35 Summilux? Well, not really but for the cash I can not complain. To me, it’s a winner for those times you want to add some magic (or imperfections) to your 35mm shooting. 🙂

Voigtlander 35 1.4 Nokton Classic MC Pros

  • Cheap for an M lens. For $549 you can get a 35 1.4 lens that is compact!
  • Its sharp wide open and stopped down
  • Build quality is very good and focus/aperture ring is solid and smooth at the same time
  • The lens gives a unique rendering wide open that can add some artistic flair to your images


  • Its not coded
  • Vignettes on the M9 unless you manually set the camera to a 35 Summilux Pre Asph
  • Some copies of this lens may exhibit backfocus
  • There is obvious barrel distortion
  • The hood costs an extra $40-$50
  • You will experience flare if shooting into a light source
  • You may encounter CA/PF if shooting in high contrast, light to dark scenarios.

Hopefully this review has given you some info on this lens that s helpful. I have tried to show you a variety of images that showcase this lens strength and even the weaknesses. I tried to avoid too many crops and tests as this is a lens that begs to be taken out, day or night and be used…for taking IMAGES!

If you are interested in buying this lens you can pick one up at B&H photo or Amazon, or you can try before you buy with a rental at for 7 days for only $35! Basically you go to their site, add the item you want to rent to your cart, pick your rental days and they ship it out to you via UPS 2nd day air! In the box you get a return UPS label so when its time to ship it back you just put the lens back in the box, attach the label and drop it off at a UPS store or location. I think it is awesome that they now rent Leica gear and you can even rent an M8.2 or M9. Very very cool.

If you enjoyed this review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or facebook! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at the upper right of any page and be notified of when new reviews are posted! I will leave you with a few more images from the Voigtlander 35 1.4 Nokton!









F1.4 AT NIGHT! 1/15s – ISO 1600







  1. Hello Steve,

    I guess I’m a follow up to the previous comment… i’m sorta torn between the Nokton classic 35mm F1.4 vs Nokton 35mm F1.2 Aspherical II for the Fujifilm X Pro 1… any thoughts?



  2. Dear Mr Huff

    What is enjoyable about your reviews, at least the one’s I have read, is that they are balanced and unexcitable. Furthermore you use the lens in real life situations.

    To my mind there are things about the 35mm Nokton which are worrying. Whilst in my opinion no lens is perfect, if there is the remotest chance of focus shift and this seems a possibility, then a lens is unreliable even though this may only amount to one in a thousand. If you happen to purchase that particular edition then, to put it bluntly, you have a ‘lemon’. Character is one thing, focus deficiency makes a lens unusable.

    So, hey ho, the price of the of the Summicron (£1,900 +) 35 ASH may not be so expensive after all. Following your review, this is certainly what I intend to do. After all, there is nothing more reassuring than taking an item out of a sealed box with a two year guarantee. My Summaron will provide the ‘character’ with the Summicron delivering the ‘bite’.

    Yours Sincerely

    John Robert Young
    Sussex, England

    • Well, how about this? In the past 10 years I have owned four 35 Summicron’s – ALL brand new. TWO had bad focus right out of the box. I have owned TWO 35 1.2’s from Voigtlander and both were perfect. Focus issues are very common in Leica lenses. I have seen it with the 35 cron, 50 lux (on a few occasions), Noctilux f/1 and 0.95, 75 Lux, 28 Cron and others.

  3. I bought this lens and it is really great on my Bessa R2 35mm film camera, specially with B&W. I do use it on my OMD E-M1 which makes it a 70 mm. On this camera, in lowish light conditions, it is tricky lens to use with many shots just a bit “not right” . Perhaps something to do with the shallow DoF when opened up. Fully open, in lowish light it is very soft and I try not to go there .

    As has been written, there is a very old fashioned but engaging look to many of the photos from this lens.

    I think it needs a lot of practice and I’ll forgive it everything because when you nail the shot, when everything comes together with the ISO, focus, focal point, DoF, shutter speed, the photos have magical & captivating effect. It’s just learning how to do this shot after shot. And the lower the light conditions, the harder it is to get right.

    This is not a snappers lens. It makes you think. Which ain’t no bad thing.

  4. Thanks for review and pics. I had considered this lens, but after seeing your photos, I will not purchase. Way too much CA (fringing, magenta shift). You saved me $500 ! A pity for me though, as I am hoping to find a 40mm lens mechanical manual lens, but with perfect optics.

  5. Very interesting review. Thank you very much, I am convinced now that it is the right choice. I plan to get that lens to be used on my Fuji Xpro 1 but I was wondering if it would fit the original Fuji X mount. It is mentioned in the compatibility list that no, it doesn’t fit. But the Nokton Classic 40 mm fits and it looks very similar to the 35mm, size-wise I mean! I also found some pictures on the web that show this lens mounted on the original Fuji ring. Anyhow I also own a Kippon ring and it should be ok with this one but then I will loose the corrections. Would you have an opinion ?
    Thanks in advance.

  6. Hi,
    on my M9 I use the new Summilux 1,4/35mm ASPH. This is a superb lens. On last years trip to Kenya, doing Safari with the EOS1DX and some L lenses including 4/500, I took the M9 as a second camera. I did not want to use the most expensive lenses in Africa for the second camera, so decided to use Nokton 1,4/35 MC and Elmar-C 4/90. I´m very impressed by the photos I took, mostly landscapes. They were even better than Canon Photos with L-lenses! I can recommend the small Nokton on M-Cameras if small and light is what You are looking for.

  7. thanks Steve, told me a lot about this lens, I decided to get one for my Sony a7, first time try lens with adapter, any advice? which adapter you think is good for this glass from M to E Sony? except the AF turn to MF, is the AF metering comparable with Sony a7?
    thanks for your time!

  8. Hi Steve, i have been using a voigtlander 15 F 4.5 on an olympus e- p1 with nice results. My question is, would the voigt 35 1.4 on a Leica M9 still give a ” Leica look” in tems of color rendition and tonality? Thx, Gene

  9. I think the rendering of this lens is perfect. Not Sanitary, just BEAUTIFUL. The cemetary shot with the forground bokeh is stunning.

  10. This is a very exciting testrun. I’m searching for a nice wide-open-lens and it seems to be that this is the right choice for “cheap people” like me.
    I had owned a pancake- styled Color- Skopar on a Screwmount- Bessa R in the past which als was very good. But the camera was restricted to the leica Threat and the lens wasn’t good to handle because it was a little small for my hands. So I sold the whole kit to switch first to a Bessa R2 and later a Leica M4-P.
    The Bessa R2 ist still here, equippes with an Ultron 1,7/35. For the Leica I use the Summicron, a Nokton 1,5/50 and an Elmarit 90.
    All of them deliver a decent image quality.

    Best regards from Peine/Germany


  11. I have this lens on my Sony NEX-5N and I really like it. I notice a few of the more recent comments mentioning NEX. For anyone coming along and thinking about this lens, I just wanted to point out that there is the regular Leica M to NEX adapter that is fairly cheap. I would avoid these $20 – $30 adapters as they do not allow you to focus this lens very closely. Instead, find an helicoid adapter and that should allow regular focusing, but also a second focus ring that can activate much closer focusing (e.g., from 1m with regular adapter down to 0.28m with the helicoid adapter). Fwiw, I bought the RainbowImaging version twice and neither one worked, so I bought one generically off of Ebay.

  12. Steve,

    would you say that this lens on a Leica M6 to shoot street photography is the lens go with?

  13. Steve,

    Thanks for your hard work. Have you used this lens on the nex-7? Have you used the 35/1.2 on the nex-7 as well? If so, how do they compare? the 35/1.2 seems to be sold out.

    Thank you.


  14. Hi. fast question pls. does this lens work with Nex-7? cause im planning on buying nex-7(just the body)
    and this lens. what adapter should i buy? pls help. thankss

  15. I shoot a Nex-5N. The more I use the Nokton, the less I like it (although I still see it as a decent lens). I think with this lens you get what you pay for. It’s image quality is noticeably inferior to my other Zeiss RF lenses (21mm f/2.8 & 50mm Sonnar). My biggest gripe with the lens in the quality of the bokeh; it’s downright ugly and distracting. For me, 35mm on a crop sensor makes this a “single subject people shooter” which means I mostly shoot in the f/1.8-2.8 aperture range. So the noticeably nervous bokeh makes it hard for me to enjoy subject isolation in the shot. And when shooting at wide apertures, you do not get as much of a 3D effect compared to Zeiss lenses. The colors are also flatter compared to my Zeiss lenses which makes this lens slightly better suited for b&w photography. That said, the lens is a reasonable performer for its price point and also very portable. I can fit my Nex in my jacket pocket with this lens attached. If you can afford a fast Zeiss or Leica 35mm, I strongly recommend you skip buying this lens; otherwise this is a reasonable keeper until you can afford something better.

  16. Has anyone tried to correct the barrel distortion of the CV 35.14 with lightroom and if so how well did it work?

  17. Would love to see a field comparison of the VC and Summilux ASPH with the new Samyang / Rokinon / Bower / etc. 35mm/1.4. Ideally on a NEX or MFT body, so we’ll compare just the lenses.

  18. heys, I have just read through your review. I mentioned that you get a bit focus issue when using the lens with your M9. However, I am wondering that you have the same issue with M8? because I am thinking of the lens for my M8. Thanks
    Vo Nguyen

  19. I finally added the 35 1.4 Nokton after realizing I prefer the images of the “classic” 60s-70s lenses to today’s “digital” designs. I also love small lenses; although this lens is larger than my other RF 35s (50s Summaron and 69 Summicron).
    For daylight shots I still prefer the 69 ‘cron, but I love the Nokton for after-dark pictures. Just “glue” the lens at f1.4 and have fun.

  20. I am about purchasing a 35mm lens for my M7.
    Reading this excellent review
    was helpful to help me
    having my decision taken.
    Unfortunately I have to think about the «barrel distortion»
    before I decide to go to this lens…
    Thank you.

  21. Wonder how the 35mm f/1.4 Nokton performs on the Sony NEX (with M-adapter), specifically in the corners and edges. I hear that the ZM Biogon 35/2 performs really well on the NEX, but due to the hit-and-miss nature of RF primes on the new crop of mirror-less formats (even on a relatively small sensor like the micro-4/3), wanted to know how it performs before plunking down the cash for one. I think this is a fairly hot topic among people intending to use older RF lenses on these newer mirrorless formats.

    I have the Sony A-mount-to-NEX adapter but since these are dSLR lenses, the adapter is around an inch thick (to take it from the 18mm flange-back distance of the NEX to the 43mm flange-back distance of the A-mount), which in turn makes the lenses (even the small ones) look huge. The larger lenses like say the Carl Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 Sonnar or the 70-200 f/2.8G etc don’t look as big, since these particular lenses are large anyway. RF lenses, due to their design being based on a smaller flange-back distance vis-a-vis the dSLR lenses, and their overall petite sizes, are attractive on such mirror-less formats but their performance with digital sensors (due to design telecentricity issues) need to be verified on a case-by-case basis.

    Would appreciate any thoughts on the above, regarding the 35/1.4 Nokton.

    • for the nex-5 users: did anyone try this lens on a nex-5? I have a ultron 35/1.7 asph and its a great lens on my leica m7, on the nex 5 it performs very poor, because the back part of the lens gets very close to the ccd and like the ccd reflects a lot of light (what a film does not.. ) this light is backscattered from the rear of the lens onto the ccd, causing colorful dots on the image, not only shooting against the light… does anyone have experience with that? Thanks, and thanks for the wonderful review! kris

  22. Has anyone used this on a m4/3 camera? If so, is it good for portraits? I’d love to see some samples. Thx!

  23. I just got this lens and it has a horrible focus shift. It starts to back focus at 2.8 and gets worse till F4.
    Past that; depth of field covers the back focus so it’s not really an issue.
    I may have a bad copy and not all are this bad. But if you get one be aware of the focus shift.
    Having said that, I love this lens. Colors are nice and very sharp at f1.4 and f2. Light weight and very nice. Too bad that some lenses have this issue.


  24. Hey Harry,

    I may or may not review the 35 PII. I used to own one with the M8 and found it to be a great lens. Actually, I think the pancake is one of CV’s gems. 🙂

  25. Steve, thanks for the great review. I am quite new to the field of RF and still enjoying the charm of my M6. Due to the lack of all the necessary info I’ve went safe and chose CV 35mm 2.5 pancake. While this seemed to be a good enough lens to get used to it, I still haven’t read any good reviews to tell the pros and cons.
    So… do you have any plan to do review of that pancake lens? 🙂

  26. Just bought the SC version of this lens! Your review convinced me:)

    Thanks for the many interesting reviews on this site!

  27. HI Steve,
    Thanks for the great writeup.
    I was thinking of getting the Nokton 35mm f1.2 for my RD1. (I love fast lens and this seems the most affordable at the moment)
    But hesitated as i read reviews of its harsh bokehs. 🙁
    Do you think the bokehs i see here for the f1.4 is comparable to those rendered in f1.2?

  28. Great site and good review! I am really thinking of buying this lens.

    Hope you will review more Voigtlander lenses, it is really interresting reading about all that nice Leica glass (F 0.95 WOW!), but sadly I can never afford it.

    Voigtlander glass however I can save up to buy to use on my Leica M2 and E-P1!

    What about a review of those good russian Jupiter-lenses 😉

    Keep up the good work and merry x-mas from Norway!

  29. Hey Rick,

    All of the images in this review are straight out of the RAW converter. I use ACR in to CS4. I then resize and post them here. The only adjustments made to these were during the RAW conversion. I would adjust WB, color or contrast and that is it. Thanks


  30. Steve,
    Are the images you post here directly “out of the camera” or are they enhanced. If so, what enhancement tools do you use besides Photoshop CS4?

  31. Steve,
    If the new Leica Lux is going to be $6K, I think you’ll see a sizable increase in the sale of Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses. The issue with Voigtlander lenses, however, is that they’re not all equal. Some are better than others. If you happen to get a good one, you’re very lucky. I have an old version of the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Heliar and I think it’s terrific. However, the much touted Voigtlander 21mm 4/P that I have, does not impress me. It’s an issue of quality control. Some Voigtlander lenses appear to be better than others of the same model. That’s not too much of an issue with Leica lenses. You usually know what you’re getting when you lay out the “big bucks”!!

  32. Hey,

    Why don’y you test BOTH 35mm Zeiss lenses, the 35/2 Biogon and the 35/2.8 C-Biogon? Would be the first one to review the C-Biogon on the M9…

    Best, Horea

  33. A new 35 Lux will probably be $6k as the old one will be up to almost $5 after the price hike. It will also be absolutely PERFECT. The Voigtlander may not get the best reviews (mainly because those who review it shoot newspaper text or bottles instead of real images), but for $500 its a great buy if you are someone who is not into perfection. Many enjoy the classical look this lens give but its far from the perfect Summicron, which I also feel is the best Leica lens for an M9. On a test bench, this lens would FAIL. In the real world, it can be quite nice in the right situations and light.

  34. Other reviews of the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton were not very complementary. There are few, if any, lenses that can compare to Leica lenses. So, I guess we “nuts” will be broke forever. Leica is supposed to be coming out with a new version of the 35mm f/1.4 Summilux that will correct current flaws in that lens. That’s the one I’m going to buy. We may see it soon. Of course, it will include the new 2010 Leica price increase and will probably cost close to $5,000! In the meantime, you can’t beat a Leica 35 mm Summicron. Besides the 18mm f/3.8 Super Elmar and the 24mm f/3.8 Elmar, it’s the best Leica lens that I own.

  35. I purchased a Nokton 40 f/1.4 MC a while back, and was mistakenly sent the SC version instead. Initially I was a little upset about that, but I tried it out. As you speculated, the SC has an even more classic look, and I love it. The colors are softer and the tones are smoother, and it’s still very sharp when it needs to be. I’m very happy I got the SC instead.

    As for the expose issues, I don’t think it has anything to do with the amount of light coming in. The camera meter doesn’t care what aperture you are on, it just meters the light that is there. If the meter is off with that lens, it’s probably because the light is striking the meter differently, or the lens is providing something different spectrum-wise than what the meter is calibrated for. It’s not that the lens is “darker”.

    Bokeh on my 40 is very harsh actually. And by harsh, I mean that there are bright rings around the out-of-focus highlights. Instead of smooth blur, I get overlapping circles. No highlights, or just a few is very pleasing. Too many looks like a picture of soap bubbles. 🙂

    Great review. I love your work here.

  36. I am waiting for your test of the Zeiss 35mm f2 Biogon. Based on my Zeiss 50mm C-Sonnar, it has to be much better than this lens. The micro contrast of my Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH is awesome for B&W, but I think the Zeiss Biogon would be fantastic for color.

    Thanks again for the interesting tests.


  37. When I look on a comparison with the discontinued 35/1,7 ultron, the nokton shows about half an f-stop darker images. Also on smaller apertures. Steves photo of a sock, above, also seems to point at a ½-stop difference, maybe as small as a third stop.

  38. Interesting, but the depth of field is still as a true 1.4 lens then. Similar to mounting a neutral grey filter.

  39. Hey Steve, Nice review and I like your positive spirit in your writings. I surely will not buy the voigtlander to couple it on an M9, there is still the outstanding summarit 35mm f2.5 for the low budget photographer.
    One thing I would like to point out though and which I read through your writing, it is the fact that you’re “getting a One Stop under Exposure in all the shots with the M9 coupled on the Voigtlander”, and the fact that you have to correct the exposure on a Raw engine in Post.
    The VGTlr f1.4 is not giving a true 1.4 stops but is rather behaving like an F2. Probably this is due to the Glass Light Absorbing properties used in the VGTlr f1.4 and though physically the aperture is 1.4, the light gathering and transmitting properties are sucking 1 Full stop from the lens.
    This behaviour is seen in most lenses except the Leica’s, which have to use very expensive glass to avoid this problem. I had a Canon 50mm f1.4 with my 5D and I still have the 50mm f1.4 Asph summilux with my M9, and I had the same problem as the one you encountered. The Leica would Always display a One stop brighter image than the Canon.
    Bottom line is, though the 35mm VGTLr is claimed1.4, it is behaving like an F2 at open aperture and thus already is loosing part of its “Luminous” credentials.

  40. great review again. i see what you mean about the shot (the one that your wife will kill you for) of your wife trying the jacket/jumper on. the subject really stands out from the background giving that 3 dimension. the shot of the santa in the shopfront, the bokeh of the lights behind really does look like noctilux bokeh. these reviews give potential buyers so much info and gives them a really good idea whether it’s right for them or not. which i guess is your aim as well. doing good.

  41. Thanks! Its funny you mention that as I am waiting to test out the Zeiss 35 before deciding on a 35. I hear its excellent and I do like the Zeiss color. Thanks!


    • I am having the hardest time deciding between an SC and a MC version.

      anyway someone can direct me to comparison samples.

  42. Steve,
    thanks for the steady stream of solid reviews of non-Leica lenses. It’s great to see your example photos and your honest, balanced appraisals, allowing the reader to decide whether the lens suits their needs. I think one can build up a good set of lenses by reading your reviews – some might be Leicas, some Zeiss and there are a few solid Voigtlanders out there.
    You mentioned you were looking for a 35mm – can I suggest the Zeiss 35mm f2. It has received excellent reviews elsewhere and I would be keen to see your opinions and examples.
    Thanks again

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